King Of The Castle

Issue 78

A belated Valentine's Day getaway took us to Langley Castle in Northumberland. In a county renowned for its castle's, Langley offers up the chance to actually stay in one.

Set one mile south of the A69, the 14th Century Castle offers the full medieval experience with deluxe guest rooms (many in full heraldic splendour) and a candlelit fine-dining.

Many like me will have developed a renewed appreciation for the great outdoors during lockdown and with close proximity to Hadrian’s Wall , Langley Castle offers a great location for an outdoorsy escape , not to mention showstopping romantic getaways and weddings.

I pitched up with my girlfriend Rosie for a journey back in time.

The hotel comprises 27 guest suites spanning both the castle-facing courtyard and the castle itself. This venue really basks in its medieval history with seven foot thick stone walls, suits of armour, wrought-iron candelabras and a spiral staircase creating a real sense of atmosphere.

Arriving early, we’d been upgraded to the castle’s sumptuous Josephine Suite resplendent with ruby red walls and heavy, pelmeted drapes. For now this would have to wait though as we ditched the bags and headed straight out.

There’s certainly plenty to explore with large sections of Hadrian’s Wall on the doorstep, not to mention the iconic Sycamore Gap, reportedly Northumberland’s most photographed feature. Rosie, the region’s other most jaw-dropping natural vista (I’m sure she’ll edit this out anyway) was in her element and we enjoyed a sprawling afternoon ramble, capped off with a well-earnt country pub pint.

For when the adventuring demands a break, one can kick back in the cosy embrace of Langley’s guest rooms. The Josephine Suite – named after a former owner- proved a haven of comfort and luxury, boasting a canopied queen-size bed, jacuzzi bath tub, plasma screen TV and dedicated seating area.

Following a glass of fizz and good long soak in the tub, we changed for our evening meal. Murmurs of a much-vaunted 2AA Rosette restaurant set expectations high and we kicked off with a livener in the hotel’s drawing room. This was a lovely spot to unwind in the afterglow of our outdoor pursuits whilst surveying an impressive three course table d’hote menu.

Adjourning to the low-beamed Josephine Restaurant, first up was the pan-seared scallops with confit chicken, Jerusalem artichoke and hazelnut. Rosie meanwhile enjoyed the vegetarian goat’s cheese & beetroot vegetarian panna cotta with pickled root vegetables and candied walnuts. Both were complemented nicely with some fat hunks of homemade sourdough.

Following on, Rosie sampled more vegetarian goodness with the wild mushroom risotto with spinach & sweet pea and cep crumb. I opted for the pan-seared venison loin with mushroom wellington and root vegetable gratin.

The following morning we breakfasted regally on cooked-to-order eggs benedict, tea and toast and couldn’t leave without a tour of the castle battlements. This departs daily after breakfast from the drawing room and encompasses the castle’s many turrets and rooftop chapel, capping off what had been a memorable stay.

“Fit for a queen?” I smiled whilst driving home. “You bet.” was Ro

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